Rotherham abuse scandal: what was life like for a victim?

rotherhamOften described as the “biggest child protection scandal in UK history”, the organised child sexual exploitation in Rotherham saw around 1,400 children abused from 1997 – 2013 (according to the Jay Report). The scale of the child protection scandal has led professionals responsible for safeguarding children in other regions to recognise the extent of child abuse in their area and consider how to respond efficiently.

On the 25th July, we hosted an event at Kingston University to launch Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham, a book written by two whistleblowers of the case, Adele Gladman and Dr Angie Heal. Adele Gladman is an experienced safeguarding children trainer and consultant, and previously ran the research and development pilot funded by the Home Office which was referred to in both the Jay and Casey reports during the Rotherham case. Dr Angie Heal was a strategic analyst working for South Yorkshire police who has since contributed to Panorama documentaries. Both gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee for the Rotherham case in 2014 and they continue to assist with ongoing investigation and inquiries.

Also joining us on the day, we heard talks from Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, author of the Independent Inquiry report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, and T, a survivor of Rotherham case.

Known as T to keep her identity private, this brave individual came to the seminar for this book in order to give a talk about what had happened to her. Coming from a large family, T spoke of her previously normal life before the abusive events that followed. In the recording below, you can listen to her talk about what life was like living through the abuse she encountered from such a young age, and the appalling trial that followed.

Do’s and Don’ts for Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence

working with survivors of sexual violenceSue J. Daniels, a therapeutic counsellor and author of Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence, discusses the top 20 do’s and don’ts for working with survivors of sexual violence.

I remember the first client I ever saw; she was an ex-heroin addict who had been sexually violated by her brother when she was eleven years old. That particular client session was twenty years ago now, and I still remember her to this day.

The client told me that it wasn’t until she was fifteen that she realised what her brother did to her wasn’t normal. Before then, she only knew that she felt uncomfortable and that she didn’t like it but because she loved him she accepted it. During a school biology lesson she had a light bulb moment that it was wrong; so very wrong. After many years of drug addiction and self-sabotage, it took a further twenty years for her to fully disclose what had happened when she engaged in therapy for the first time.

When a person has been raped or sexually violated in any way, they can often live in their own private hell, unable to speak or recall their experiences easily. Having a trained professional to listen, with both their ears and their heart, can be priceless to that individual and is the beginning of healing and restoration for that person.

Every week we get calls from counsellors, policing teams, support workers and other professionals asking for information and/or advice about working with rape and sexual violence, so I’ve put together the following information to answer some of the questions previously asked:

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